Alright, ladies, let’s get serious for a few minutes here.
This week, we will be exploring the topic of follow through. The concept is simple enough – yet, why don’t we always do it? We all have reasons (maybe life gets in the way) for not following through, but this inaction could be slowly chipping away at your reputation and your brand, and negatively impacting bloggers everywhere. Even the simplest thing might leave a bad taste in a company’s mouth: for example, RSVP’ing “Yes” to attend an event, but then not showing up. Or, not responding to an email because you don’t feel the proposal is a good fit for you. These little things add up for all of us and are turning into a BIG problem in the blogging world. At Style Collective, we reiterate that your blog is a business, and should be treated as such. Would you want to work with a brand that didn’t follow through? Well, the feeling is mutual.
In a recent interview Annie conducted with Victoria Paniouchkine of The Mr. & Ms. Collection, a brand that regularly works with influencers, she talked about creating lasting brand relationships and asked this:
How important is follow through and communication when working together? And why?
It’s everything! Being thorough about the project scope of work and clear about expectations from the start is paramount. If you have an idea or an angle you would like to pursue, mention it. If you have a question, ask it. Communicating with the brand that you received their product, and informing them of the various stages you are in during the time of production, is also a smart extra step to take. If something comes up that pushes a deadline back, contact the brand. Don’t wait for the brand to contact you. This will taint the experience no matter how good the end result may be. – the Ms. Collection
Catch the full interview here.
At the start of the new year, Marketing Dive published their top 9 Trends That Will Define Marketing in 2018. In the article, they detail a few marketing trends that will change the landscape for bloggers (eventually) but the most important one they speak about is the inevitable shrinking influencer marketplace.
While 39% of surveyed professionals plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018, the number of actual vendors will shrink in 2018. Since we are still in what is largely considered a “Wild West” category, we have a landscape that is characterized by overlapping and often indistinguishable players and products and services. This year, there are predictions for fallout of the weaker players.
Now is the time when influencers will have to meet more stringent transparency standards set by both brands and regulatory bodies like the FTC. In terms of how influencers are implemented into strategies, more businesses will attempt to foster talent organically to address these issues and ensure ambassadors are representative of their values. There will be more in-house influencers for brands this year, too, which coincides with the notion of finding long-term deals with compelling influencers that begin to embody the voice of the brand itself. If you are looking to hook a long-term relationship with a brand, you need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s – all in a timely manner.
In this kind of changing landscape, reputation is EVERYTHING! And not just your actions build your reputation as a blogger and influencer; OTHER bloggers and influencers leave impressions with brands, too. We know it’s not fair to put everyone in the same box together, but if a brand has a few bad experiences with bloggers, it’s easier for them to associate this with all influencers and be reluctant to work with us in the future. We need to show them our value, and continue to treat our blogs like a business. Let’s ALL lift our industry by acting like the true professionals we aim to be! Let’s up our Follow Through game.
What do we mean when we say “Follow Through”? From small to big, here are a few common examples of what not to do.
You RSVP “Yes” (for example, to a fun SC meetup or local fashion event) but life happens, and you can’t go.
What this does: You have committed to being there, which means a brand may be counting on you for a post during the event, or the PR agency who planned the event sees you didn’t attend and removes you from their master list for future events. That’s a lot of missed opportunities!
Fix it: Be sure to update your RSVP to “No” (if there is still time) and issue a sincere apology for your lack of attendance.
Follow-Up Posts/Exchange of Services
You have arranged a fun brunch (or were invited to one) and the restaurant has agreed to provide complementary mimosas in exchange for social media exposure. They want at least three Instagram stories tagging them and one static post on your account featuring a food flatlay. But, for one reason or another, you don’t do it.
What this does: You have committed to do these posts and already received “payment” (i.e. the free mimosas) which means you are violating the terms of the agreement. If you want this restaurant to host you again, make sure to follow through!
Fix it: Do the post! Better late than never, TBH. And issue a sincere apology to the brand you are working with to smooth things over and show that you ARE a professional they want to work with. (Maybe throw in an extra post or shout-out, too.)
You receive an email from a brand…and you don’t respond. The email just sits there, sad and lonely.
What this does: The brand went to the trouble of reaching out to you and giving you a chance, which means they like you! Think the worst thing you can say is “no”? Think again. The worst thing you can do is straight up ignore them. You want to give the brand a positive first impression, so they’ll contact you in the future for even BETTER opportunities!
Fix it: Reply back within two days of the original email and, in a professional and straightforward manner, respond to their inquiry. Whether you are interested or not, they deserve a response.
You are working with a brand and get a bit behind schedule from your original projected date (or encounter some other issue while executing your agreement). You don’t communicate the issue with them, and end up posting WAYYY late and having to write an apology.
What this does: In all reality, they probably wouldn’t have been so mad about you being late if you had just communicated with them upfront and pushed back the schedule a bit. Then they would have been expecting the new post date. Instead, they might think you are disorganized and don’t see them (or your blog) as a priority.
Fix it: Communicate with your brand partners regularly and if you have bad news (or good) let them know right away. Of course, don’t spill that your son gave you the flu so you are spending most of your time near the toilet! Maybe just let them know that you are ill and need to push the deadline back by a couple of days. Then, stick to it!
Another blogger reaches out to you via email or DM and wants help/advice/suggestions/to collaborate/grab coffee with YOU! So flattering! But you don’t answer or follow up, for one reason or another.
What this does: Well, this certainly isn’t in the spirit of Style Collective, AMIRIGHT? We have all been there, girl-crushing and stalking our favorite bloggers, and here is this girl who worked up the courage to reach out to YOU! *handclap* The least you can do is respond to her, girl. If you don’t, she’s all alone out there in the blogosphere!
Fix it: Respond! Even if it’s late, and even if you aren’t really interested in helping her or doing a collab, etc. You have a few options: 1) dive in an make a new friend, assisting her or meeting up. No one is too successful to lend a helping hand to a fellow #girlboss; 2) Point her in the direction of someone you know who has more time than you, or does this as a service. Make introductions and check in to see how it went; 3) Tell her about Style Collective and our amazing community of women supporting women! She is bound to find the advice she may need, or another blogger who would LOVE to collaborate with her. Give her your affiliate link and she will thank you later for introducing her to our community filled with friendships, opportunities, and professional education.